Is Water pH Hindering Your Herbicides?

Is Water pH Hindering Your Herbicides?


Selecting the right herbicide is a key to effective weed control, but there’s another big factor that can make or break your results—and it’s so common you might overlook it.


Water pH can negatively affect the stability of some crop protection products, including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides or growth regulators. The end result is less active ingredient applied and poor performance, according to Michigan State University Extension.


Water naturally varies in the amount of dissolved minerals and pH, depending on its source. The pH of water from natural sources can also vary throughout the season, according to Michigan State University Extension.


“For best results with the products you’re spraying on the crop, you need to drop the water pH,” said Dennis Klockenga, a crops specialist with ProfitProAG.


One thing you need to know about AMS


Most of the water in the Midwest has a high, alkaline pH. “In parts of South Dakota, for example, water often has a pH of 7.8 or 7.9,” Klockenga said. “We need to acidify the water we mix with herbicides or other crop protection products.”


A solution with a pH around 5.0 or 5.5 allows glyphosate, Liberty® and Enlist™ (2,4-D) to perform most effectively. “Weeds will absorb the spray more readily, which means you’ll get better weed control,” Klockenga said.


What about ammonium sulfate (AMS) as a water conditioner? Many farmers use it, because it’s inexpensive. While AMS lowers the hardness of the water (which helps prevent glyphosate from getting tied up with calcium and magnesium), it doesn’t lower the pH of the solution. AMS is also tough on crops and equipment, Klockenga noted. In addition, AMS can corrode spray nozzles and pumps and can be difficult to handle and mix thoroughly.


Get faster weed kill, healthier plants with Herbolyte 

For a quicker, more effective weed kill without the hassles of AMS, Klockenga recommends Herbolyte™ for Roundup® Ready, Liberty® and Enlist® systems. Herbolyte is proprietary to ProfitProAG, which has more than 20 years of experience with this useful product.


“Herbolyte was designed for use with glyphosate, but it works with nearly every herbicide, except Basagran®,” Klockenga said.


Herbolyte not only modifies solution pH and water hardness, but it helps drop troublesome weeds fast. Herbolyte promotes the rapid uptake of herbicide into weeds, which promotes a speedier burndown. Meanwhile, crops stand strong and continue to grow after spraying.

“The high salt content of AMS and glyphosate may cause stunting and yellowing of the crop, as well as reduce soybean nodulation,” Klockenga said. “Herbolyte is a low-salt adjuvant that contains a high-energy carbohydrate mixture that helps keep crops greener and less stressed after spraying. This keeps the plants growing without stunting to reach their full potential.”


  • Faster weed kill.
  • Healthier crops.
  • More profitable.
  • Water conditioner that modifies solution pH and water hardness.

Herbolyte Plus

  • Contains a blend of micronutrients to enhance nutrient availability and uptake by the plants.
  • Promotes herbicide uptake.
  • Can be mixed with other foliar plant nutrients.
  • Modifies solution pH and water hardness.
  • Improves pesticide efficiency.
  • Easy to mix.
  • Trace element package that doesn’t tie up in solution.
  • Can be mixed with RR®, LibertyLink & Enlist and most other herbicides.

Control yellow flash

  ProfitProAG also offers Herbolyte™ Plus, which provides effective weed control along with vital trace elements. Herbolyte Plus helps address yellow flash—the temporary chlorosis of newly-emerging soybean leaves that sometimes occurs following a glyphosate application to glyphosate-resistant soybean cultivars.


“If manganese or iron are tied up or not available, you can get yellow flash,” said Klockenga, who noted that AMS seems to make this issue worse.


Herbolyte™ Plus contains a high-energy carbohydrate mixture and a blend of micronutrients. Each nutrient is individually chelated, meaning the minerals are more readily absorbed, which allows plants to use them more effectively. “In my experience, Herbolyte™ Plus helps control yellow flash,” said Klockenga, who added that Herbolyte™ Plus is easy to mix and can be combined with other foliar plant nutrients.

Take a holistic approach to crop protection


Herbolyte products are designed to be used with glyphosate products without water conditioner additions. “When you use Herbolyte products, there’s no need to use AMS,” said Klockenga.


Not only do Herbolyte products offer faster weed burndown and active crop growth after application, but they can also provide a yield boost. Consider an independent trial with Herbolyte versus AMS on Roundup Ready soybeans. The beans with Roundup Ready Ultra produced 53.3 bushels per acre, while beans with Herbolyte and Roundup Ready Ultra produced 56.7 bushels per acre.


“We usually see a yield advantage with Herbolyte of 3 to 4 bushels on corn and a couple bushels or more on soybeans,” Klockenga said.


Herbolyte fits well with a holistic approach to weed control, Klockenga added. “We’ll ask you about the crop protection products you’re currently using so we can help you determine the best weed control program for your needs.”


Proper weed control is part of ProfitProAG’s 3-phase Recipe for Success, which includes residue management, at-plant options and in-season solutions that mitigate plant stress, build resilience and enhance uniformity in a crop-production system. The end result is increased seed numbers, weight and nutrient density in grains.


“The ProfitProAG team is here to work with you every step of the way to build greater resiliency, sustainability, consistency and profitability into your farming operation,” Klockenga said. “We can help provide the building blocks to help you grow higher-yielding, better-quality crops.”

Dennis Klockenga

Let’s talk


To learn more about Herbolyte products or the Recipe for Success, call or text Dennis at 320-333-1608. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

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